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Targetdrone.gif Gaunt's Ghosts redirects here. For the novel series, see Gaunt's Ghosts (Novel Series).
Uniform Basic Data Miniature
- Tanith First and Only -
Homeworld: Tanith (formerly)[1a][1b]
Regiment Name: Tanith First and Only
Specialities: Marksmanship[Needs Citation], Scouting[1b]

The Tanith First Light Infantry[5f], more commonly known as the Tanith First and Only or simply as the Tanith First, was an Imperial Guard Regiment raised on the planet Tanith during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. They were also colloquially known as "Gaunt's Ghosts", after their commanding officer, Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt.[1a][2b]

Primarily light infantry, the name "Ghosts" referred to their superlative stealth and reconnaissance skills, but it was also a melancholy reminder of the fact that their homeworld, Tanith, was destroyed by the forces of Chaos shortly after their initial Founding.[1d][2b]



In 765.M41[Note 1], during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, the planet Tanith was called on to raise regiments for the Astra Militarum for the first time in its history. Originally, the people of Tanith were tasked to contribute three regiments for the Imperial Guard: the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of Tanith - totalling 6,000 men and a small number of vehicles and artillery pieces, to be commanded by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt.[1d][2b]

On the very night of the regiments' Founding ceremony, however, disaster struck: a Chaos splinter fleet that had slipped through the Imperial Navy blockade arrived in the Tanith system, which was practically defenseless. Gaunt quickly decided that Tanith could not be saved, and, instead of allowing the guardsmen to engage in a futile defense of their homeworld, ordered as much of the men and equipment evacuated off-planet as possible before the Chaos ships arrived. In the attack that followed, Tanith and the majority of its people were immolated.[1c][1d] The remnants of the three regiments, some 3,500 Guardsmen[2b], were formed into a single regiment, the Tanith First and Only[1d], with Gaunt promoting two members of a delegation sent to confront him, Corbec and Rawne, into its colonel and major respectively.[2b]

Despite everything, Gaunt also had one thing to give the Tanith hope: the Right of Settlement. When Warmaster Slaydo elevated Gaunt to the rank of Colonel-Commissar, he also granted Gaunt settlement rights to the first planet he won. Despite everything, some of the Tanith saw this as a chance to claim a new home, a New Tanith, for themselves.[2b][2i]

Early Days

Commissar Ibram Gaunt and the Tanith First and Only[3a]

When Ibram Gaunt was sent to Tanith to oversee the founding of these regiments, he was not impressed by the appearance of the men, initially describing them as "a scrawny, scruffy mob of soft-voiced woodsmen". Gaunt's opinion of his new regiment changed quickly after seeing them in combat for the first time on Blackshard. Because of their exceptional stealth and scouting skills, they never got lost even on the most confusing of battlefields, and using camo-cloaks they could move quickly and stealthily through terrain. On Blackshard the regiment's master sniper, Hlaine Larkin, coined the name "Gaunt's Ghosts", referencing both their superlative stealth abilities and the fact that they were dispossessed 'ghosts' of men.[2b]

During the Crusade, the Ghosts' expertise in covert operations was instrumental in the liberation of a number of worlds. However, rivalries with other, more illustrious regiments (in particular, the Jantine First and the Volpone Bluebloods) often put the Ghosts at risk. The regiment took heavy losses in its early actions, including the loss of three hundred during a friendly fire "incident" at Voltis Watergate on Voltemand.[2c] Heavy casualties were also incurred during the effort to recapture the Forge World of Fortis Binary[1x], so much so that by the time of the Ghosts' deployment on Monthax they numbered only 1500.[2x]

Reinforcements from Consolation

With Tanith destroyed, the Tanith First-and-Only had no homeworld from which to draw new recruits, but the Ghosts eventually garnered a strong reputation after a number of actions, in particular the Siege of Vervunhive. After the heavy fighting of the siege the Ghosts were reduced to their lowest numbers yet, but received a huge influx of new recruits from Vervunhive who, thanks to Warmaster Macaroth's Act of Consolation, were allowed to join any regiment of the Imperial Guard they desired since their hive had been destroyed.[3d] The cultural divide between the Tanith and Verghastite elements of the regiment became an ongoing problem, with the Tanith resenting the newcomers and the Verghastites resenting that resentment and feeling like second-class Ghosts shut out of the regiment's elite sections.[5a][5g] The introduction of women into the regiment as part of the Vervunhive influx also caused some tension, but this was more quickly resolved as the women proved themselves in combat and the complaints of the anti-women Tanith such as Major Rawne became tired and repetitive.[4x] The greater cultural divide was eventually bridged due to shared combat experiences and the promotion of several Verghastites to platoon command, as well as the first Verghastite making it into the regiment's elite scouting cadre. By the end of the conflict on Aexe Cardinal the regiment was fighting as a cohesive whole.[6]

Following the Siege of Vervunhive the Ghosts went on to win renown through their actions in several warzones, including the shrineworld Hagia where they defended the remains of Saint Sabbat against Chaos forces[4x], Phantine where their infiltration skills were officially recognised by high command for the first time and were instrumental in capturing the cities of Cirenholm and Ouranberg[5x], and Herodor where they fought alongside the reincarnated Saint Sabbat herself as her personal honour guard.[7]

After Herodor the regiment underwent another great change when Gaunt and several of his best unit commanders including Rawne and Mkoll were tasked with leading a small infiltration team on Gereon to assassinate traitor-general Noches Sturm, formerly of the Volpone Bluebloods, before his memories could be accessed by his Chaos captors.[8] The Tanith First, while still intact in the body of its troops, was left without most of its command structure and the Ghosts were merged with the Belladon 81st regiment under colonel Lucien Wilder, a regiment which also specialised in scouting and had lost many of its men in previous actions but still had most of its commanders. The combined 81st/1st Recon were deployed in combat on Ancreon Sextus, but the situation was complicated when Gaunt and his team returned alive from Gereon after being assumed dead. Gaunt was forced to act as an ordinary commissar again, shut out of his own regiment, which Wilder had organised into alphabetical companies instead of the previous numerical platoons. Wilder, however, died leading a heroic rear guard action when the Astra Militarum was forced to retreat, buying time for the rest of the regiment to escape. After this Gaunt returned to command and the regiment reclaimed the name Tanith First-and-Only, though now with a third cultural group, the Belladon, as part of its mix.[9]

The Ghosts continued to fight superbly in the name of the Emperor after Ancreon Sextus, returning in full force to liberate Gereon from Chaos control.[10] However, they suffered heavy losses once more when they defended the abandoned fortress Hinzerhaus on Jago against massed armies of Blood Pact, and Gaunt himself was captured by the enemy and believed dead for a short time. Though saved, Gaunt lost his sight to his wounds.[11] After the conflict on Jago Gaunt requested that his regiment be rotated away from the front lines as they had been fighting for too long, and they were stationed as a garrison force on Balhaut for a year.

While stationed on Balhaut, Gaunt and a handful of the Ghosts found themselves caught up in an attack by a Blood Pact strike-team who infiltrated the planet, far behind Imperial lines, in order to kill Mabbon Etogaur. Gaunt and the Ghosts successfully neutralised all enemy agents in the city and the regiment later took custody of the Etogaur, who had defected to the Imperium after betraying the Blood Pact to join 'Anarch' Anakwanar Sek and help him create the Sons of Sek. Reinforced by an influx of new troops from Verghast and Belladon, the Ghosts were dispatched to the remote enemy research station known as Salvation's Reach, where acting on intelligence Mabbon had supplied they staged a raid and stole a number of Chaos artifacts while planting evidence to make it seem like the Blood Pact, not the Imperium, had attacked Anarch Sek's facility. The false-flag operation at Salvation's Reach, in concert with other missions staged across the Sabbat Worlds, succeeded in inciting internecine warfare between Archon Gaur and Anarch Sek.[12][13]

While returning from Salvation's Reach, the Ghosts' transport ship suffered a serious malfunction and translated from the Warp into real-space ten years later than when they had left. Surviving a boarding attack by Chaos scavengers thanks to the inexplicable intervention of the Chaos warship Tormageddon Monstrum Rex, the Ghosts arrived at the war-torn planet Urdesh where Gaunt discovered that he and his regiment had been believed dead for a decade. Posthumously decorated for his many successes and now returned alive, Gaunt was promoted to Lord General Militant and set up by his fellows to replace the increasingly distant Macaroth as warmaster. Unwilling to be a pawn in the coup, Gaunt warned Macaroth and helped him return to take charge of the situation as the enemy launched a massive counter-attack across the planet. The Ghosts fought valiantly in the thick of the fighting and Gaunt was rewarded by Macaroth with a position as his right-hand man, but the Imperial forces only survived because the Sons of Sek retreated for seemingly no reason. Reinvigorated thanks to Gaunt's actions, Macaroth charged his generals with discovering why.[14]


Since its founding, the Tanith First and Only has served in the following campaigns and warzones:

Notable Achievements

The Tanith 1st have the distinction of achieving the death or capture of no less than three Chaos Magisters: Nokad the Blighted, Sholen Skara and Heritor Asphodel. Others notable actions include:

  • Destroying a corrupted STC on Menazoid Epsilon.[1m]
  • Defending the remains of Saint Sabbat on Hagia.
  • "Operation Larisel" on Phantine, an airborne operation that deployed specially selected fireteams into Ouranberg to seek out and assassinate Sagittar Slaith, the Chaos warlord in command of the Blood Pact forces holding the city.[5d]
  • An EZ-level insertion/assassination mission on the Chaos-held world Gereon to find and assassinate General Noches Sturm.
  • A top secret false-flag mission to Salvation's Reach to acquire enemy artefacts and trigger infighting among their forces.

Combat Doctrine

Tanith First and Only Guardsmen[9a]

The Tanith are unparalleled scouts, marksmen, masters of stealth tactics, and excellent light infantry. They possess an unerring sense of direction, a trait developed for survival on a planet where the nalwood forests actually move to conceal the paths through them. While the Verghastite and Belladon infantrymen do not have this uncanny knack, they are also proven light infantry specialists, with Verghastite Hive City backgrounds in particular complementing the talents of the Tanith woodsmen. The First and Only excels in stealth infiltration missions, but has proven particularly tenacious in defensive operations in urban terrain.[3c][7]

Even amongst such light infiltration infantry as the Tanith, there is always room for the truly elite. In the Ghosts these take on two forms:

  • The Scouts, led by Chief Scout Sergeant Oan Mkoll, specialise in reconnaissance and covert operations. Considered the regiment's elites, the scouts are dominated by Tanith natives and were indeed purely Tanith even for some time after the integration of the Verghastites into the regiment. Heqta Jajjo was the first Verghastite to make the grade and be added the scout corp.[6]
  • The Sniper division, dominated by Tanith master-sniper Hlaine Larkin. Unlike with the scouts, the Verghastites are at least equally represented among the snipers and include a number of women. Indeed, Larkin is the only one who has upheld his reputation in the face of skilled former scratch-company markswomen such as Jessi Banda and Nessa Bourah.


The average Tanith Guardsman makes use of a standard M-G pattern lasgun[2f] or Mark III lascarbine.[5a] Those Guardsmen within the regiment from Tanith itself used guns with a stock made of nalwood, forged in the workshops of Tanith Magna[2f][5a] whereas the newer Verghastite recruits had guns with folding metal stocks.[5a] The regiment's snipers, likewise, make use of the sniper variant of the M-G pattern, sporting a longer, thinner strengthened barrel designated the XC 52/3.[2f][4h] All of these weapons drew ammo from size three power cells.[5a]

Officers' sidearms were typically laspistols (fed from a size two power cell). Few of the regular Troopers carried these, however.[5c] In terms of special weapons, the Tanith employ a number of dedicated flamer units, and have been known to use meltaguns.[2e]

In order to offset their light infantry status, the Tanith sometimes employ several types of heavy-weapons for support in combat. Heavy guns such as heavy stubbers and autocannons (chambered in .30 or .50 calibre solid-shell ammunition[5c]) are handled by teams of two, one gunner and one ammo feeder.[4g] These support weapons are sometimes called 'land-hammers'.[5c] The Tanith also employ rocket launchers, which they call 'tread-fethers'.[4g]

Every trooper carries a thirty-centimetre combat blade[5a] known as a Tanith War-Knife[1e] or 'straight silver'.[5c] The Tanith are known to practice an unusual form of fighting specifically suited for the weight and length of these knives.[1e] In addition, the knife can be attached to a lasgun for use as a bayonet.[2k]

The Tanith First wear composite flak armour fitted with modular webbing pouches containing standard-issue Guard equipment, weighing approximately 20kg in total.[4a] This has included tube charges[4a] and dedicated climbing gear.[1j] The Tanith are known to make use of more specialised equipment, depending on their mission - notably on one occasion, grav-chutes.[5e]

In addition, individual Tanith are known to perform modifications on their own wargear.[2f] This included wielding personal, nonstandard weapons[4b][5c] and armour.[4d]

Appearance & Uniform

Tona Criid of the Tanith First and Only[15]

The Tanith uniform is black[1a], with optional helmets for standard troopers and forage caps for the regiment's elite scout platoon.[Needs Citation] Camo-cloaks (made of cameleoline) are standard.[1a] Officer's dress is also black.[4e]

The cap badge for the Tanith is a gold skull, surrounded by a wreath, with three daggers behind it; each dagger representing one of the original Tanith Regiments. On the badge is the inscription "For Tanith, for the Emperor". After the death of their homeworld and the destruction of the Tanith Second and Third regiments, the Tanith snapped off the two outside daggers on their cap badges.[5a] The Verghastite badge is a silver axe-rake to symbolise their former hive's mining and industrial background.[4a][5a] These pins and other badges that indicate rank or specialisation are dulled down with soot or boot-black to aid in stealth operations.[5a]

It was tradition on the planet Tanith for men to have tattoos. Every Tanith member of the regiment had at least one and many of the Verghastites got themselves tattooed in imitation of this, believing that you weren't a "true" Ghost until you got marked (this did, however, result in a number of Guardsmen developing infections from attempting to ink themselves).[4c]


Prior to their re-organisation into the 81st-1st Recon, the Tanith were divided into numbered platoons or "sections". Each of these was led by a section leader, usually a sergeant, though higher-ranking men like Colonel Corbec and Major Rawne had their own platoons as well. Each leader had their own numerical call-sign, though this did not always match the number of their platoon. (For example, Agun Soric's call-sign was 20 even though he was leader of five platoon.)[6] This was possibly due to the fact that men kept their call-signs even after promotion, something Major Rawne disliked when he continued to be referred to as 'three' in battle even after he became the regiment's second-in-command after the death of Colonel Corbec.[8]

When the Tanith Regiments were consolidated into the First and Only, the regiment consisted of approximately 3,500 Guardsmen.[2b] Following the Fortis Binary campaign, the regiment numbered 40 platoons, totalling roughly 2,000 men.[1g] After the influx of new Verghastite recruits in the aftermath of the Siege of Vervunhive, the regiment's numbers increased to roughly 2,500.[4f]

Known platoons and leaders are as follows:

  • One Platoon - Led by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt.[2k]
  • Two Platoon - Led by Colonel Colm Corbec until his death on Herodor.[2k][7]
  • Three Platoon - Led by Major Elim Rawne. Three platoon was infamous for being a sink for all the malcontents within the regiment who hated Gaunt for leaving Tanith to die, Rawne himself foremost among them.[1g][1h][2k]
  • Four Platoon - The Scout platoon, led by Scout-Sergeant Oan Mkoll. Unlike the other platoons four platoon did not fight all together; each member was attached to one of the other platoons as its scout specialist.
  • Five Platoon - Originally led by Sergeant Gorley, who was killed by an artillery barrage on Sapiencia.[2j] Later led by Sergeant Agun Soric until his imprisonment as a psyker on Herodor and transferal to the Black Ships.[7]
  • Seven Platoon - Originally led by Sergeant Blane, seven platoon was wiped out to a man on Menazoid Epsilon rear-guarding the regiment against a treacherous attack by the Jantine Patricians.[1i][1l] Sergeant Lerod became the leader of the new seven platoon, but they suffered heavy losses on Monthax and Lerod himself was killed in the final phase of that conflict.[2k] The platoon was later led by Sergeant Burone.[Needs Citation]
  • Nine Platoon - Led by Sergeant Dorain Hasker. Nine platoon was devastated by a Chaos energy barrier on Menazoid Epsilon with many including Hasker killed. Mikal Dorden served as the platoon's vox-operator.[1f][1k][2i]
  • Ten Platoon - One of the first of the regiment's platoons to be led by a Verghastite, in this case the scratch-company hero Gol Kolea, ten platoon was taken over by Tona Criid (notably the first female sergeant in the regiment) after Kolea suffered a head injury on Phantine that robbed him of his intelligence and personality. Kolea continued to serve in the platoon as a mentally handicapped grunt trooper, but was healed by Saint Sabbat on Herodor in an official miracle. Despite this, he allowed Criid to continue leading the platoon.[5x][6]
  • Eleven Platoon - Led by Sergeant Obel.[Needs Citation] Eleven platoon contained famous pair heavy-weapons trooper Bragg and master sniper Hlaine Larkin.[18]
  • Twelve Platoon - Led by Sergeant Dohon 'Shoggy' Domor. This was the platoon Brin Milo joined once he became a trooper. They fought directly alongside Saint Sabbat during the siege of Civitas Beati on Herodor.[7]
  • Fourteen Platoon - Led by Sergeant Flyn Meryn, who took command after receiving the brevet-rank of sergeant during Operation Larisel on Phantine.[5x][6]
  • Fifteen Platoon - Led by Sergeant Theiss.[6]
  • Sixteen Platoon - Originally led by Sergeant Folore.[1h] Later led by Sergeant Maroy; under his command sixteen platoon took heavy shelling on Aexe Cardinal and suffered 70% losses, including Maroy himself. Gaunt considered Brin Milo as the new sergeant for this platoon, but he left the regiment to serve alongside the Beati before this could happen.[7]
  • Seventeen Platoon - Originally led by Sergeant Lhurn Adare, who famously got roaring drunk upon his promotion, seventeen platoon was taken over by Sergeant Raglon, Gaunt's former vox-officer, after Adare was killed in Operation Larisel. The drunkenness of trooper Costin caused this platoon to take heavy losses on Aexe Cardinal and almost ended the friendship between Gaunt and Chief Medic Tolin Dorden after the latter undermined Gaunt by refusing to let him execute Costin, but Costin cleaned up his act and was instrumental in saving over 70 lives on Herodor just months later.[5x][6][7]
  • Eighteen Platoon - Led by Sergeant Mkendrick. Eighteen platoon was completely wiped out by the loxatl triplets on Herodor.[7]
  • Nineteen Platoon - Led by Sergeant Skerral. Nineteen platoon were too slow to make it inside the Old City gates on Herodor and were wiped out in a heroic last stand against the Blood Pact.[7]
  • Twenty Platoon - Led by Sergeant Ewler, a grizzled veteran Tanith.[7]
  • Twenty-three Platoon - Originally led by Sergeant Indrimmo, twenty-three platoon was taken over by Verghastite Sergeant Arcuda after Indrimmo was killed on Phantine.[6]

When the Tanith 1st was absorbed into the 81st-1st Recon, Colonel Wilder organised the new regiment into alphabetical companies. Colonel-Commissar Gaunt kept this structure after he resumed his command.

In The Warmaster (Novel) it is stated that the Tanith 1st has twenty companies. However, 'V' is the twenty-first letter of the alphabet, meaning there is at least one letter before V not being used as a company name.

Known companies and leaders are as follows:

  • A Company - The original A Company led by Lucien Wilder died to a man making a last stand on Ancreon Sextus to buy time for the rest of the regiment to withdraw. Gaunt later created a new A Company with himself as presumable leader, but eventually gave command to Tona Criid when his own duties required him to delegate. Following the deaths of her adoptive children, regimental command considered appointing an interim captain until Criid recovered from her grief, but she decided to tough it out as a way of distracting herself.[Needs Citation]
  • B Company - The original B Company was led by Major Braden Baskevyl, Colonel's Wilder's second-in-command, but command of B Company passed to Major Elim Rawne after his and Gaunt's return from Gereon. B Company's notable first platoon, the 'Suicide Kings', were given responsibility for Mabbon Etogaur when the regiment took custody of him. After Rawne was seriously wounded on Urdesh, Jo Lurgoine was appointed interim captain while Rawne convalesced.[Needs Citation]
  • C Company - Originally led by Major Gol Kolea. Along with B Company, C Company was considered the best in the regiment. After Kolea's death, captaincy of C Company was offered to Cin Haller, but he refused out of respect for his old friend's legacy. Tona Criid then suggested Kleo Chiria, whose unsentimental attitude meant she would not be hindered by concerns surrounding her predecessor's memory.[Needs Citation]
  • D Company - Led by Major Braden Baskevyl, until Gaunt's elevation to Lord-Executor and Rawne being wounded saw him promoted to colonel and given interim command of the regiment. Command of D Company then fell to Ban Daur, who like Criid decided to carry on despite losing a loved one on Urdesh.[Needs Citation]
  • E Company - Originally by Captain Flyn Meryn, E Company developed an unwholesome and unlucky reputation, largely thanks to Meryn's own dark schemes. E Company took devastating casualties on Urdesh, including Meryn himself, and the unenviable task of rebuilding it was given to the notably patient and compassionate Darra Bray.[Needs Citation]
  • F Company - Led by Captain Ferdy Kolosim.
  • G Company - Originally led by Captain Ban Daur, G Company became noted for its expertise in setting up effective, multi-layered defences.[11] It is currently unknown who took over command of G Company after Daur moved up to D Company.
  • H Company - Originally led by Captain Callide, who was killed in action on Ancreon Sextus.[9] Gaunt gave command of H Company to Captain Vigo Kamori, who was killed by a nail bomb on Jago.[11] Currently led by Captain Asa Elam.[Needs Citation]
  • I Company - Originally led by Captain Raydrel, who was killed by sniper fire on Ancreon Sextus.[9] It is not known who replaced him.
  • J Company - Led by Captain Obel.
  • K Company - Led by Captain Dohon Domor.
  • L Company - Originally led by Captain Varaine, who was killed by a crashing Valkyrie on Jago.[11] Currently led by Captain Seley.
  • M Company - M Company was first led by Captain Theiss. After his death, Theiss was replaced by Orys Ifvan.[Needs Citation]
  • N Company - Led by Captain Matteus Arcuda.
  • P Company - Led by Tona Criid before Gaunt nominated her as his replacement in charge of A Company. It is not known who has replaced Criid.
  • R Company - Led by Major Yve Petrushkevskaya.
  • T Company - Led by Captain Ornella Zhukova until Oan Mkoll selected her for the scout cadre. Zhukova was replaced by her capable second-in-command, Nico Spetnin.[Needs Citation]
  • V Company - Led by Captain Jakub Wilder before his execution for assault by Commissar Vaynom Blenner. V Company doubles as a regimental band, and is often made the butt of regimental humour. However, Cin Haller made a good replacement for Wilder because unlike most he respects the regimental band's unique skillset.[Needs Citation]

Notable Members



The Gaunt's Ghosts novel series has been compared as a Warhammer 40,000 "equivalent" of the Sharpe novel series by Bernard Cornwell, much of which follows the exploits of a (fictionalised version of) the 95th Rifles, a regiment with a reputation for stealth and sharpshooting (being dressed in green and wielding more accurate Baker rifles compared to the standard British "redcoat" troops armed with muskets). The Tanith First could therefore be seen as an analogue of the 95th.


See also

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